If you’ve bought a trailer hitch and you’re intending to do a DIY hitch installation, you should check a few things on your vehicle and make sure it’s ready for the project.
No drilling hitch installation
For a hitch installation that doesn’t require you to drill any holes for the bolts, you should check any weld nuts and frame holes that you will be using to make sure that they are not rusted or corroded from being exposed to the elements. In some cases, the edges may be so rusted that the original frame holes aren’t good for mounting the hitch anymore. If this is the case, contact your local Blain’s Farm & Fleet. They can order special hitch installation anchor points that you can use to place inside of your vehicle’s frame after cleaning and grinding the rust off of the frame hole. If your frame holes aren’t rusty, simply clean any dirt or road grime off of them to leave a clean surface for the hitch bolts to sit on when you install the hitch. All-purpose degreaser works well to cut through dirt and grime from the road.
If your vehicle has weld nuts (threaded frame holes that are meant for hitch installation), they can also become clogged with rust. You can usually remove this with a penetrating oil and a wire brush. Spray the penetrating oil into the nut and let it sit for a few minutes before spraying again and scrubbing it with the brush. If you are unable to get the threads clean enough to be able to thread your hitch bolts in, try tapping the holes with a tapping drill bit or a tap wrench. Make sure you use a tap that is the same size as the bolts. Be careful to make sure that the tap is lined up with the hole correctly to avoid damaging the threads.
Drilling hitch installation
Following the instructions that come with the hitch, measure and mark the places on the frame of the vehicle where you will be drilling. Next, remove any mufflers or exhaust pipes that might get in the way of drilling the holes. For most cars and trucks, you’ll just have to detach the muffler from the rubber insulator hangers so it can be moved out of the way when you are drilling. Make sure you don’t allow the exhaust to hang free without any support after you disconnect it.
You should always have a helper with you to install a hitch. Hitches are heavy and you could easily injure yourself or damage your vehicle by dropping it. You can always take your vehicle in to your local auto mechanic, too.